Meet Astronaut Karen Nyberg – Luca’s Launch Partner

Karen Nyberg Luca ParmitanoI have exciting news to share. Today my mentor Astroanut Luca Parmitano’s Soyuz TMA-09M training and launch partner Karen Nyberg joined Twitter! I am so excited to see Karen on Twitter and have the opportunity to follow her as she shares her experience of living on the International Space Station.


It’s exciting that I will not only get to watch my mentor Luca launch into space the first time, but I will get to watch Karen, who is a great role model for girls around the country and someone I look up to.When I met Luca he talked to me a lot about Karen and it was obvious that he admires her. His message was you can be an astronaut and be a mom and balance these things. It was also clear that he trusted and respected her and her abilities were equal if not greater than any man he works with. This was part of my immediate bond with Luca – he has two young daughters and he is a great advocate for women in STEM.

karenKaren is also a Minnesota Native and being that I am from Minnesota that is exciting! I have yet to meet her but cannot wait until the launch to have an opportunity to meet her family , travel with them, and get to wish her well right before she launches. After graduating from a high school in Minnesota, Karen started at the University of North Dakota, where she got a B.S. in mechanical engineering, and eventually received a Ph.D in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas, Austin. In her graduate work, she investigated human human thermoregulation and experimental metabolic testing and control, most specifically related to the control of thermal neutrality in space suits.

Karen is an amazing role model and I’m so excited to see her joining the Twitter world! I’m looking forward to meeting her and learning more about her experience as an astronaut. Follow her on Twitter @astrokarenN – I can’t wait to read what she’ll be sharing!NASA selected her as a mission specialist and was eventually assigned to be a Crew Support Astronaut for the Expedition 6 Crew during their 6-month mission aboard the International Space Station. Karen completed her first spaceflight in 2008 on STS-124 and has now been assigned to the Expedition 36 crew as a flight engineer – with Luca!

Photo Credits: NASA

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